Ecobee3 Lite Questions

I’ve been wanting to replace my old White-Rodgers Model 7904 thermostat for a while now and think I’ve decided on the Ecobee3 Lite. I’m just looking to set schedules and have it controlled by Alexa and via Ecobee app or ST app… I’m not interested in room sensors. I do have a few questions though.

  1. I’m likely to have this installed for me (I’m clueless with these things) but curious if I will need the adapter/wiring harness. My current thermostat has only 5 wires connected RH, RC,W,G, Y… it has batteries. My AC is electric and my Heating is gas. Thermostat controls are: (Fan) On or Auto… and Cool, Heat, Off. Will I likely need to use the provided adapter?

  2. I understand you can lower heat or cooling levels by asking Alexa but can you ask Alexa to turn the AC or Furnace On/Off?

  3. I currently don’t have an Echo or Dot in the thermostat location so that would require probably catching a Dot on sale. Economically it still seems to make more sense buying a Dot and Ecobee3 Lite rather than buying an Ecobee4. Anyone going this route regretted not just getting the Ecobee4 with Alexa included?

  4. Pretty good prices on eBay for Ecobee3 Lite’s have the 2nd Gen’s been out long enough you wouldn’t have to worry about getting a 1st Gen?

  5. What are the sizes of the small & large trim plates? Could you spray paint them to match the wall if needed?

  6. Normally for the summer months I set my current thermostat to hold AC 24/7 at a certain temperature… we are semi-retired and always home. During the winter I set the Furnace 24/7 to different temps… warmer during the day and cooler at night. Sometimes if I have the heat set pretty low at night I like to bump it up when first I’m getting up but then lower it back down in an hour or so. Is it possible to keep doing this or with similar results?

Yes. But it’s included and free, so don’t worry about that. Your installer will figure that out for you. But before hiring someone I would watch the youtube videos on the ecobee website. It really is VERY easy to do.

Going strictly from Alexa? Yes, that should be possible.

I have not, but I use Google Home rather than Alexa. But, you’re not going to want to shell out $300 for a new thermostat in 3 years. But $40 for a next gen Dot would be no big deal at all. So, it all depends on how often you update your tech.

I would confirm what gen you are getting. For a purchase this size I generally stay away from ebay.

the small you would not need to paint as it is the size of the back of the ecobee and can’t be seen. The large is about 2" larger all around. You can definitely paint it with spray or simple house paint. Its not super shiny or anything. It’s just dull plastic. Should take regular latex paint just fine.

You can use the ecobee software to set up a pattern of your choosing for whatever temps you want. And you can call them whatever you want and you can set them for heat and A/C temps. That way you don’t have to adjust your schedule when you switch from heat to AC and back again. I work from home, so i know what you mean about mainly being home. But then i have it set to away via smartthings when i leave.

The one function that I really love is the Vacation setting. If i’m going to be gone for a few days, i can go into the app and set up a vacation to begin and end a specific day and time. This overrides any other command, schedule or function that gets sent to it (except of course “cancel vacation”). This way, when i’m gone on a work trip I know for sure my AC isn’t running at home keeping my furniture nice and cool and wasting my electricity. And you can set up as many vacation periods as your want and they have their own heat and AC settings. I really do love this thermostat. I moved away from my Honeywell which never worked quite right.

1 Like

I’ve had the ecobee3 lite since last fall and have been very happy with it. I would basically just second everything that @Ryan780 said.

I’m only posting because we do use Alexa devices in our home and I wanted to add that I am very happy that we selected the ecobee3 lite rather than the 4 Because we are already using an Echo show in the same room where the thermostat is and although they are pretty good at having only the one closest to you answer, there are times when I would definitely want the show to answer even though it was further away than the thermostat because I like the visual responses.

Ecobee has a free service where you can send them a picture of your existing thermostat’s wiring and they will tell you if it’s compatible if their online tool can’t tell for sure.

As far as I know, the main difference between the generation two and the generation one ecobee three lite devices is that the second generation also has support for apple’s HomeKit.

The main feature that is missing from the ecobee3 lite as opposed to the three or four is that with the light you cannot connect accessories like a humidifier.

An accessory, like a humidifier, dehumidifier, and ventilator can be controlled by the ecobee3 and the ecobee4. The ecobee3 lite does not support accessories.

Check with your local power company – – you may be able to get a partial rebate towards the purchase of any of the ecobee models, which is always nice. You will probably need a picture of the thermostat that you are replacing to qualify.

Finally, I definitely agree with Ryan that it’s a bad idea to buy this kind of device from eBay. Too many counterfeits, devices missing pieces, defective devices…Speaking just for myself, I’d much rather buy electronics from a place where I get full warranty and a good returns policy. :sunglasses:

1 Like

Thanks Ryan & JD you guys pretty much answered all my questions!

Regarding Ecobee3 Lite not having Alexa included I never thought about Echo or Dot updates or even newer models. We have no idea if the Ecobee4 will ever have Alexa updates so that’s a very good point!

Glad to hear you also have no regrets picking the Ecobee3 Lite over the 4.

While getting a 3 Lite on eBay is very tempting for $125 I’ll follow both of your advice and avoid eBay for this purchase. I’ll put in a price watch on Amazon using CamelCamelCamel and wait for a price drop. I’ll definitely be picking one of these up!

1 Like

@JDRoberts is right. Depending on where you are, you could qualify for up to $115 in rebates. I am in New York State and there are two big rebates/rewards for new Wifi thermostats if you haven’t already gotten them. One big one to check out is if your energy supplier participates in a “smart-response” program. I got $85 for signing up for that one and you aren’t obligated to do anything else. Pretty sweet program Check out your energy supplier’s website or the D.O.E. website for more info.

1 Like

Oh I meant to comment on this? Looks like my local energy company only gives rebates for replacing your HVAC only.

They didn’t ask me when I applied for mine. As long as you haven’t already gotten the rebate/reward. I made that mistake when upgrading mine. They said I qualified for it and then denied me because I’d deactivated the old one. At least for the program in my area, it does not require that you’re upgrading from a “dumb” thermostat. The big program (the $85 one) is to sign up for a smart-response program. Basically, when the grid is going to have HUGE demand, the log in and turn up your thermostat a couple of degrees to reduce the amount of electricity your AC will use. However, they send you an email a couple hours before and all you have to do is log into the thermostat’s app and you can cancel it. No penalty. But if you participate, you get $5 off your bill. I think i’ve saved ~$20 over the couple of years through that program. That after the $85 amazon gift card you get. So, not a direct rebate but pretty damn good. And I’m pretty sure it’s a national program.

If you don’t mind me asking, who’s your energy supplier?

Wheatland Electric

Yeah…and it doesn’t look like your state has that many residential programs either. Either way though…i think you’ll really like the ecobee 3 lite. I know I’m glad I switched.

1 Like

Thanks pretty sure I will just need to wait until the price gets a little lower.

Home Depot has had them on sale for $149 before. That’s when I grabbed mine.

1 Like

Yeah that’s not bad I think Amazon had them on sale a month ago for $145 so they do get ran on sale once in awhile.

  1. I started with the 3 Lite… then Ecobee4 went on sale around the holidays. For $50 more than I spent on the 3 Lite I got an external sensor PLUS Alexa. and the interface on the unit itself is better. To me, it was a no-brainer.

I was reading a user review on the Ecobee3 Lite on Home Depot and came across this:
If you lose power to the house the display on the ecobee3 lite has a 50% chance of being blank upon power up. The only way to restore the display is to unplug it from its mount, or momentarily kill the 24 volt supply… according to Ecobee tech support.

Was wondering how prevalent this was where it boots back up with a blank screen?

This has happened to me one in four power outages since mine was installed. It was the first time so I was worried, easy fix and hasn’t happened since (fingers crossed). Not sure what causes it, I called Ecobee support (the guy I talked to wasn’t very nice but he basically walked me through the fixed and promised a replacement unit if it happens again). All in all I love my Ecobee and it seems to play well with Smartthings. So short answer is I wouldn’t worry about the blank screen issue especially if you don’t have a large amount of power outages.

1 Like

Thanks makes you wonder if it’s a software or hardware issue and if there’s a permanent fix… too bad they don’t have a battery backup.